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About 40 children drown every day in Bangladesh

Almost 14,000 children die from drowning every year in Bangladesh. (Photo supplied)

Every year, about 14,000 children drown in Bangladesh. It is responsible for 43 percent of children deaths aged one to four.

On World Day for the Prevention of Drowning on July 25, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF released the data.

Every day, 40 children under the age of five who are not even old enough to learn to swim drown.

Experts say that reducing the number of deaths is critical to meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which can be accomplished through family awareness and joint government-private-NGO collaboration.

Fazilatun Nessa, State Minister for Women and Children's Affairs, said, "We wish to reduce children's drowning deaths to zero in the same way that we have successfully reduced maternal mortality."

"The government has already identified child drowning deaths as a serious concern and is prioritizing prevention. We have already implemented 16 district child safety plans for 200 thousand children, and around 3.60 children will be provided with swimming lessons at a young age," said Nessa.

"We found that supervision and providing community daycare to children under four years old reduced drowning deaths by 88 percent," said Kelly Larsen, director of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Drowning Prevention Programme.

"We are pleased to see that the government of Bangladesh is supporting a nationwide drowning prevention strategy," Kelly added.

Bangladesh has pledged to reduce the under-five mortality rate to 25 per thousand children by 2030 to meet the SDGs. Aside from diseases, many children die as a result of accidents.

According to experts, "The majority of incidents of child drowning occur in ditches and ponds in rural areas; lack of supervision is a key risk factor for child drowning, and sixty percent of accidents occur between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. when parents are busy with family responsibilities."

The problem of drowning deaths among children in Bangladesh may worsen as climate change causes more flooding in the country.

Every year, more than 230,000 people are killed by drowning around the world.

Nine out of ten drownings occur in low-and middle-income countries, with children under the age of five being the most vulnerable.

"We can prevent drowning tragedies and make our communities safer by improving multi-sectoral collaboration, promoting strong leadership in drowning prevention, and taking the necessary actions," said Kelly. 


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